She got down from the school bus. Usually, her mother came to pick her up from the bus stop. She didn’t understand why she had sent the servant today. But without a word, she let the servant hold her hand and walk her to the other side of the road where she lived. Winters had just got over and the sun was shining bright. It was a hot day and she wiped the beads of perspiration that formed above her lips. For an 8 year old girl, the 500 meters walk back home was definitely tiresome. But she kept walking. She could almost see her house now. A two storied bungalow stood in front of her. She did not understand what a residential colony meant but she knew that her house was different from her friends. She wasn’t allowed to go out to play. She had no friends in and around her house. The only difference she could make out was based on her father coming home for lunch every afternoon. She knew that her father’s office was on the ground floor, just below the floor she lived on. Little did she understand that her house was in a commercial area. There were no houses around. There were just buildings where people worked.
But today, it all looked so different. The shutter to her father’s office was down. She tried to remember what day it was. It was definitely not a Wednesday when her father had a weekly off. The otherwise crowded place with labourers running here and there was completely deserted today. With a question in her eyes, she turned to the servant, “Bhaiya, aaj papa ka office band kyun hai. Aaj Wednesday to nahi hai”
Much to her annoyance, he remained silent.
Neeta remembered the proceedings of the day quite well. She was a kid then, she did not understand what it meant to lose a sister. She did not grieve for a single moment. The people around her thanked the good old God for taking her away, for at last she was relieved of the pain. Born as a mentally retarded child, Neeta had always seen her sister on the bed lying like a lifeless creature. But today, after 16 years, Neeta understands what this loss was for her mother and her father. Deep inside, she wanted to see her little sister again. Today she understands how her life would have been different if her sister had been alive. Today, she understands the absence of a sister, the most beautiful girl ever born on this planet. Sadly, Neeta does not have any of her pictures except the ones which she has in her memory. Memory of a little girl lying on the bed who could not speak, who could not walk and but somehow understood every word that Neeta spoke. And today, she has an empty feeling inside for there isn’t any little sister who could hear her speak.
PS: This is a true story.